Hello Friends and Family,

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Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani: Prep for Launch

After midnight July 6, the Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani was moved successfully from the construction area at Kamehameha Iki Park to Mala Boat Ramp on the north side of Lahaina. During the following five days, the crew would be completing the myriad tasks to prepare the boat for launch. The big accomplishment so far is the raising of the masts in preparation for mounting the sails — now it looks like an ocean-going vessal!

It must have been incredibly exciting for those who have been working on this boat for the last 18 years. I was excited and I only learned of the boat a few weeks before the launch.

I find it interesting that they were so organized that there were labels on every part so that the crew will correctly connect line A to part B.

So there it is, in position — the main mast secured with lines that can be adjusted to allow the sail to be raised high to catch the full breeze or leaned over when the wind is really blowing hard to allow some of the wind to bleed out of the sails.

This crew member was securing the lines, first from the deck...

... then from the top of the mast.

One of the items still to the To-Do list was attaching the sails to the spars prior to attaching them to the masts.

Here is a closer view of a second spar. The laminated construction is most likely a modern technique to add strength. The ancient polynesians probably had to rely on the strongest wood they could find.

Here the crew was attaching canvas skirts to the side of the boat to help keep waves off the deck, once under sail in the open ocean.

I am not sure what this structure is for — one guess might be a sleeping bunk — remember there is no cabin as one might find on a modern sailboad and the crew has to sleep somewhere. Regardless, it provided some welcome shade for this crewmember as he completed another task on the list.

Even Captain Tim Gilliom was busy completing that long list of tasks. As Captain, he is responsible for every aspect of the vessal — and you can see he takes that responsibility very seriously. You know that, at sea, things will go wrong — but you should make every effort to minimize the number and severity of those incidents.

With the hot tropical sun shining on this new enterprise, the crew has mounted tarps so they can work in the shade. Smart.

Only two days after these photos were taken, the Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani would be launched. The pride of all Mauians and those with a Hawai`ian heart will be filled with great joy once the boat takes to the water for which it was designed and built. I will share those photos next week.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com